Monday, January 30, 2012

Gifted? ADHD? or Both? A SENG Public Awareness Effort

In addition to the recent regrouping of the autism spectrum, definitions of other diagnoses seem to be challenged as well.  Very bright individuals run the risk of being diagnosed with ADHD or misdiagnosed.
The nonprofit organizationSupporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted (SENG)recently sent a letter of concern to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in response to the AAP’s new guideline discussed in “ADHD: Clinical Practice Guideline for the Diagnosis, Evaluation, and Treatment of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity in Children and Adolescents(Pediatrics, 2011, Vol 128 [5], November, pp. 1-17.) because the new guidelines fail to direct physicians to take into account intellectual giftedness.

James T. Webb, who also co-authored the book Misdiagnosis and Dual Diagnoses of Gifted Children and Adults and is highly published in the gifted field, believes that while ADHD can and does occur in gifted children, many traits and behaviors characteristic of giftedness are frequently misinterpreted as ADHD, particularly in the very young.

“Some of these traits include being strong-willed, impulsive, impatient with the relative slowness of others, and having the tendency towards heightened sensitivity, perfectionism, and intense focus on personal interests and experiences,” Webb says.